Miami Heat frustrated after mayor rejects using arena as voting center

Atlanta. Brooklyn. Charlotte. Cleveland. Dallas. Detroit. Houston. Golden State. Indiana. Los Angeles. Milwaukee. New York. Oklahoma City. Orlando. Phoenix. Sacramento. San Antonio. Utah. Washington.

The NBA arenas in all of those cities will be a voting center on election day or an early voting site.

Not Miami. The mayor of Miami-Dade Carlos Gimenez — a Republican candidate for Congress in November — rejected using the AmericanAirlines Arena to go with another location. The Miami Heat were angry and released this statement.

“To say we are disappointed is an understatement. But to the extent that forces involved in making this decision think this will quiet our voice on the importance of voting, they should know we will not be deterred.”

Getting people registered and out to vote — and pushing back against voter suppression tactics — has been a goal of LeBron James‘ organization “More than A Vote.” That has included a push to use NBA arenas as voting centers. Two-thirds of NBA team arenas are doing just that.

Miami’s mayor chose another location, citing that AmericanAirlines Arena will be busy most years at this time with NBA games. Those, however, could be scheduled around an election.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about this and echoed the organization’s frustration before his team went out and won Game 3 of their series against the Bucks.

“It’s a little bit of a surprise. We thought that we were on the goal line to be able to get it done, and we had really worked with the county to check all the boxes that they seemingly wanted checked,” he said. “It would have been a perfect place.

“But I will promise you this: This is not going to stop us. We’re going to get involved one way or the other. We’re just going to strategize, recalibrate, figure out what step we can take from here,” he said. “That’s with or without the county. It’s just really disappointing that that’s the decision they made.”

The Heat organization will continue work to turn out voters in November.